Whidbey Island Dance Theatre opens its 22nd annual ‘Nutcracker’ in Langley

Posted in Community, More Stories, Spotlight, Theater and Dance

Dec. 3, 2014

The holiday season is made brighter each year by dancing fairies, frogs, flowers and rats, among other sweet and scary characters.

Whidbey Island Dance Theatre lends its enchantment to the Christmas season once again, with its 22nd annual production of the “Nutcracker,” from Friday, Dec. 12 through Sunday, Dec. 21 at the South Whidbey High School Auditorium in Langley.

With a cast of more than 100 dancers, whimsical moving sets and colorful, hand-crafted costumes, WIDT’s production of the popular Christmas ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s endearing score, is full of community spirit, excellent dancers and a host of surprises that are sure to delight children of all ages. Artistic Directors Charlene Brown and Danielle Wilkins have created their own brand of the classic story.

“Our version is certainly different from the traditional ‘Nutcracker’ storyline, and we think that’s what makes it so special,” Brown said.

Six- year-old Callahan Dobmeier of Greenbank shows off her best "mouse" pose for Whidbey Island Dance Theatre's version of "The Nutcracker" ballet.

Six- year-old Callahan Dobmeier of Greenbank shows off her best “mouse” pose for Whidbey Island Dance Theatre’s version of “The Nutcracker” ballet.

Indeed, even the smallest dancers on the stage know how to add their own brand of island charm, including 6-year-old Callahan Dobmeier of Greenbank, who plays a mouse, a butterfly and a frog.

Callahan said that to act like mouse in the “Nutcracker” you must know how to shake. Her character, she said, is a scared mouse, but one who is on the side of the Rat King, of course.

The best part of the show?

“I have to trip Clara,” she said with a devilish sort of grin.

Callahan has been dancing for almost four years and this is her second foray onto the “Nutcracker” stage. Dancing has helped her a lot, she said, with her cerebral palsy, giving her a new ability to jump, spin and do handstands, which were all difficult before she was a dancer.

Although she admires the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy for the truly beauteous ballerinas that they are, Callahan has her sights set on maybe one day playing the part of the Rat King, with his jubilant jumps and fierce tricks. Today, her personal favorite part is the frog, because she gets to be green and wear a cool mask. Look for her butterfly, stage right — the one who blows kisses to the audience.

Callahan and the rest of the ensemble are lucky to dance alongside a star-studded cast of main characters, including company member Tessa Sherman who’ll be dancing the “dream-girl” role of Clara this year, joined by her young Prince, played by Zane Vanderwood.

Professional dancer and Whidbey Island native Graham Vanderwood, will be playing the roles of Drosselmeyer’s assistant, the Nutcracker and the Snow King.

Guest artist Laura Kay Young, formerly of the Alabama Ballet, Ballet Bellevue and Evergreen City Ballet, will be making her Whidbey Island debut as the Snow Queen.

Audience favorite Lars Larson is back once again in his resplendent role as Clara’s Godfather Drosselmeyer, while WIDT co-dance captain and Island Dance Competition Team member Ariana Abrahams returns in the role of the evil Rat King. WIDT’s other co-dance captain, Faith O’Brochta, will dance the part of the Flower Queen.

Dade Glaser, plays the Forest King, partnered with WIDT alumna Brittany Falso as the Faerie Queen. Glaser, Falso and Graham Vanderwood are all dancers with the DASSdance company of Seattle.

Tessa Sherman plays Clara in the WIDT 22nd annual production of the "Nutcracker" at SWHS auditorium. / Michael Stadler photo

Tessa Sherman plays Clara in the WIDT 22nd annual production of the “Nutcracker” at SWHS auditorium. / Michael Stadler photo

If this is anyone’s first “Nutcracker” ballet, Callahan has some advice to share. “Read the book and listen to the music,” and then get ready for a winter wonderland, a fertile forest, an underwater adventure, an extraordinary Christmas tree and a show that may make your holiday a little more magical.

The “Nutcracker” plays at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; Dec. 12 through Dec. 21 at South Whidbey High School Performing Arts Center, 5675 Maxwelton Road in Langley.

Advance tickets are $18 for adults; $16 for seniors (65+), Military and Children younger than 17. Tickets are on sale now at Brown Paper Tickets.

Special Opening Night price: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12 all tickets are $16.

All tickets at the door cost $20.

Group Discounts: $15 per ticket for groups of 8 or more. Tickets must be purchased together in advance to receive discounted price. (All tickets are $20 at the door.)

Call the Box Office at (360) 341-2221 or visit www.widtonline.org for more information.

SPECIAL “NUTCRACKER” EVENTS:

Nutcracker Character Brunch

A special character brunch will be held at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14 before the matinee performance. Enjoy a delightful holiday brunch made by the Whidbey Institute’s executive chef and WIDT Vice-President Christyn Johnson, while you get your picture taken with Clara, the Nutcracker and other whimsical characters. Look for more about Chef Johnson at www.RawIndulgence.kitchen.
Tickets for Nutcracker Character Brunch are $10 for youths under 12; $15 for adults.
The entire Nutcracker Character brunch has been donated so your full purchase price becomes a donation to Whidbey Island Dance Theater. Bring the whole family and make it a magical day. Limited seats are available, so buy your tickets now before the brunch sells out!

The dance of the flowers includes, in front, Alexa Varga, Faith O’Brochta, Skyylynn Lippo; in back, Bronte Patty-Caldwell, Kelsey Lampe, Holly Johnson, Emma Patty-Caldwell, and Caitlyn Zarifis. / Michael Stadler photo

The dance of the flowers includes, in front, Alexa Varga, Faith O’Brochta, Skyylynn Lippo; in back, Bronte Patty-Caldwell, Kelsey Lampe, Holly Johnson, Emma Patty-Caldwell, and Caitlyn Zarifis. / Michael Stadler photo

Newcomer’s Night! 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13

We would like to invite anyone who has never seen our production of “The Nutcracker” to come on Saturday, Dec.13 for only $16! If you are going to purchase your tickets at the door for this evening’s performance, be sure to mention that this is your first time coming to see our “Nutcracker” and you will receive this discounted price. We can’t wait to meet you!

“Ugly Christmas Sweater Night! 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20

Join us for “Ugly Christmas Sweater Night” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20 for the reduced price of $18 for adults; $16 for seniors, military, youths under 17. If you forget to pre-order tickets for this event, just wear your “Ugly Christmas Sweater” and you will receive the pre-order price! Already pre-ordered your tickets? That’s okay; we want to see the “ugliest” (or most adorable) Christmas sweater you own!

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